Eagles Notebook: Eagles getting healthy entering bye

Posted: November 21, 2013

AFTER A WEEKEND in which Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher and linebacker Mychal Kendricks were inactive against the Redskins, both players returned to the practice field yesterday at the NovaCare Complex.

Fletcher, who missed two games with a pectoral injury, expects to play Dec. 1, when the Eagles return from their bye week against the Arizona Cardinals.

Kendricks, who suffered a knee injury against Green Bay on Nov. 10, told reporters he also will play against the Cardinals.

Tackle Jason Peters, who has suffered multiple injuries this season, was also a participant in yesterday's practice. After missing practice all of last week, Peters was active against the Redskins.

Safety Earl Wolff remains out with a knee injury suffered in Green Bay. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis referred to Wolff as week-to-week. If Wolff is unable to return on Dec. 1, safety Patrick Chung should replace him again.

Heading into the bye week, many Eagles admitted they were tired but said their bodies felt good overall. With a reduced amount of soft-tissue injuries suffered this season, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur yesterday credited the methods of sports science brought to Philadelphia by coach Chip Kelly.

"I see the sports-science part of what we're doing have an effect on players," Shurmur said. "The guy I talk to frequently is Brent Celek, to see how he's doing, because he's a guy that's a very veteran player. He's a guy that gets out there and plays hard and takes a beating each week.

"I think what we've done is shown the players from a scientific standpoint why that stuff's all important. I think in terms of how it's going to affect us in December, we'll see. We're still in November, you know."

Davis also has seen a difference in the freshness of his defense this late in the season.

"I do. I really do. I've never been around something as detailed as what Chip brings to the table in the sports science and recovery part of everything," Davis said.

"I'm amazed at the energy and the lack of the soft-tissue injuries, all those things that we've had. Just the way the guys have bought in. I think you give Chip the credit for putting the structure in place, then the players have been outstanding of actually doing it and believing in it. It takes them doing it and believing in it for it to work."

One player who is hoping to get healthy for the Eagles' playoff push is quarterback Michael Vick, who has missed five of the last six games, including the last three, with a hamstring injury. Vick, who practiced yesterday alongside Nick Foles, has shown signs of improvement recently, but he remained inactive for the Redskins game.

"I think Mike could have played if we needed him on Sunday," Kelly said Monday. "But we weren't going to keep three quarterbacks active.

"We're hoping when we come back off the bye . . . that Mike will be up and ready to go. We'll see. I know he's progressing."

Foles has been outstanding in Vick's absence. In the last three games, he has passed for 10 touchdowns and rushed for one, increasing his total to 18 touchdowns (16 passing, two rushing) this season without an interception. The Eagles are 3-0 in that span and now sit atop the NFC East at 6-5.

"I think he's playing winning football, and that's really what you rate a quarterback on first," Shurmur said of Foles. "Then we can all crunch the numbers behind and do all the comparisons that we might do.

"But he's playing winning football. He's improving each week. I think that's the challenge. That really is the challenge. Do what you can to help your team win football games, whatever that may be."

Despite his impressive play in recent weeks, Foles officially remains in a battle with Vick for the starting position. Kelly has said he will meet with Vick and Foles after the bye.

Shurmur, asked if there is anything that sets Foles apart from other QBs he has coached, said: "I don't know about exclusively Nick. I see a lot of the same characteristics in guys that are good.

"What I'm talking about are things that you do when you prepare to play a game. Then in a game, I've always been fond of the guy that stays calm and doesn't get rattled. I think that's just something that's natural to Nick. It shows up."

On Twitter: @JohnMurrow12

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